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    California asks US for £5.6 billion to rebuild after wildfires

    California governor Jerry Brown and other politicians have asked the US government for 7.4 billion US dollars (£5.6 billion) to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of wine country.

    The blazes killed more than 40 people and left thousands without housing.

    In a letter to the White House, Mr Brown joined California’s two US senators and 39 members of its 52-member congressional delegation to urge president Donald Trump and Congress to quickly adopt a disaster-related appropriations measure to support the state’s recovery.

    Mr Brown said the funding would go towards cleanup and programs to support housing, transportation, agriculture, environmental protection and other services for those affected by the fires.

    A series of blazes that started in Northern California on the night of October 8 killed at least 43 people and destroyed about 8,900 homes and other buildings.

    At the peak, thousands of firefighters battled 21 blazes that burned simultaneously.

    Officials have not yet assessed all the damage and effects of the fires, but the governor’s office and the affected counties determined that 7.4 billion US dollars in federal funding is needed to help California recover, the letter said.

    The wildfires significantly damaged farmland, rangeland and watersheds, and more than a third of the funding requested, 3.1 billion US dollars (£2.37 billion), would go toward helping agricultural industries bounce back, including affected wineries, California officials said.

    “The full economic impact to the agricultural, tourism, hospitality, and wine industries is still not known,” the letter said.
    “Nine California wineries were destroyed and 21 were damaged in the nation’s most prominent wine-making region.”
    source : independent.

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